Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Where do I start in seeking care for my son?


#1

Hello. I am new here. My son (2nd oldest of five kids) is 15, soon to be 16. He is exhibiting behavior similar to my brother, before he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. I have been in denial for a few months now, hoping it was just a phase, but instead of getting better, he is getting worse. I made an appointment with the pediatrician but I wonder if that is the best route. We have decent insurance and we do not need a referral. Should I start with a psychologist? I am just now beginning to research all of this and this is one of the first places that I found. I am so sorry that all of you are having to endure this. As a young girl, my brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 18 and it was tragic really and tore my family apart. We were always told it was probably drug induced schizophrenia, because he started smoking marijuana at age 11. My head is practically spinning because I just cannot believe this is happening. Having a brother with Sz was hard enough, I cannot believe I may have to go through it as a mother. And words cannot even express how bad I feel for my sweet son and what his future may hold. After so much denial, God has finally revealed to me that my son needs medical care. But where do I start? Thank you so much. I’m sending up prayers for all of those who are in this struggle.


#2

Start with a Psychiatrist. If you can find a Pediatric Psychiatrist, even better. Don’t delay. The sooner he can be diagnosed and treated the better the prognosis. Push for an appointment as soon as possible and if your son shows signs of hallucinations, aggression or self harm take him to the E.R.

Best wishes!


#3

My son started having psychosis at 15 too - he’s 27 now.

One pediatrician in the office my son had went to for years diagnosed his issues as panic attacks & gave him valium - he hadn’t slept in days. When I called back in a panic on a Friday to get a refill because I didn’t know how we’d get through the weekend, I got a different pediatrician. He instantly knew what was going on & got us in with a friend of his - a pediatric psychiatrist.

I had been calling every number in the phone book and most doctors wouldn’t see him because he was under 18 - or they would put me on a waiting list & tell me it could be months before he’d get an appt.

You have an advantage that you’ve seen this before. I didn’t even know what psychosis was exactly and everything I searched for led me to drug abuse and he had tested clean.

If it was me, I’d start with the pediatrician so they can rule anything physical out & so that you can ask who they think would be good for him to see.


#4

Your son needs to see a psychiatric practitioner who is very experienced with young people and psychosis. Do you live near one of these places: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/183AKE7LpuPoMqju228Qr6Dl3TX-VWXD2af-DiNM0XaI/edit#gid=1138161364

The link is to early psychosis treatment centers (in the USA) that would be the best option if there is one near you.

When looking for treatment in your area, try to attend NAMI Family and Friends support group if there is one. NAMI cannot refer you, but the people attending the support group might have been in your situation and know where to turn.


#5

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. Both of these are in my area. The NAMI group and free course sounds great!


#6

In the UK we simply visit a General Practitioner (GP) for any sort of medical concern, then the GP engages the necessary experts. Our GP referred our daughter, at age 14, to child mental health services and she was carefully assessed by a psychiatric team over a period of about 3 months before they diagnosed sz. Then the system took over, she was assigned a psychiatrist, regular therapy sessions, community mental health nurse, medication, and educational support.

Although you’re in the USA, I would advise trying to follow the same path. Find a pediatric mental health service that can assess your son and ask the right questions in the right way, and if possible a service that can provide you with 2 or 3 expert opinions. There’s a lot of change going on as they move from child to adult, and the last thing you want to risk is a single psychiatrist giving a wrong diagnosis.

As for yourself, educate yourself on what sz is, this site is good. There’s a huge amount of information on the web but take care not to over indulge, you have your own life. Take strength from your beliefs. Beware of religion when it comes to your son though, as it’s quite common for those with sz to have religious delusions. I’ve not seen any evidence to say they can pick up the delusion from exposure to religion, but it is all around us so it would be difficult to avoid.


#7

I am somewhat new still in my own son’s diagnosis, @FaithHopePrayer. I agree with everyone here…find a child psychiatrist that is skilled in severe mental illness and schizophrenia…and find one today. You have a window with his age. My son was diagnosed after 18, so was insisting on independence and was both secretive about his issues and non-compliant with mediation when he was diagnosed. Perhaps you can get him on board with a treatment plan and establish some good habits before the age of consent. This forum and the collective wisdom within many that post here are so helpful. You have found some good support and and experienced family members here…visit often! Wishing you the best in your journey, new friend!


#8

I’m so sorry. My son was diagnosed last year and it was absolutely devastating. But, there is still hope, and the earlier you get your son treatment, the better his chances of recovery. If you google early intervention schizophrenia treatment, a list comes up of places around the world that help with early psychosis: http://www.schizophrenia.com/earlypsychosis.htm
I drive 2 hours to take my son to a clinic on this list. I believe it has saved his life and our family. I thank god every day for this program. I think starting with the pediatrician is good too, but you need to make sure he or she points you in the right direction, and don’t let them dismiss you. Our pediatrician didn’t help and I had to do it all on my own and find a place for him - we live in a relatively rural area. Don’t stop - your son needs you to face this and help save him.